15 December 2020

RED Inc where dreams are made in paint

My friend  (and ex-wife) Cheryl Bailey invited me to the annual art exhibition for disabled clients at RED inc, an organisation in Mullumbimby where she works. She is a painter herself but became an art therapist a few years ago, and she has really found her calling in working with these clients. I call them clients, but I should call them artists and painters first. And creative types with obsessional natures are all a bit disabled to one degree or another aren't they? 

The opening began at 18h so I wanted to get there on time to see it, then leave to go paint on the beach somewhat quickly thereafter. I am very glad to have gotten to the reception early this year as I missed last year's show altogether and I deeply regretted it after seeing pictures my brother had bought there. My other regret is that I didn't have enough time to meet all of the painters, though I did meet a few who painted the pictures I bought. 

RED inc is a series of two spaces, a small house in front, but behind, a very large shed where Cheryl and others run the program. It was full of pictures for sale, chocker-block as they say in Australia. I ran through it somewhat rapidly and immediately fell in love with so many things that I was super grateful to be early and on time just for once. Everything was available for sale, and I think it sold out later on. The paintings were very, very inexpensive so I went a little wild and bought all these paintings below.

There is something in each of these pictures that I would wish to steal and hide away in a secret part of me for later use in my own work. They say that to copy or imitate is the highest form of flattery, so though I wouldn't exactly copy them, I would worship their dynamic originality, their audaciously bold conviction. And like so many people around here who use crystals to straighten out their spiritual ways, I, too, would hope to be infected by their quiet imperfect-perfection.

Who could not fall in love with the pinkness of this happy pig at the top? His/Her serious black eyes seem to say to us: 

"Please don't eat me."

What can be said of the image below, a graphic solution to dystopia? or for that matter, above? with the Disney characters floating discreetly within?

And this image below? Isn't it a kind of austere national flag? But with the flourish of painterly indecision floating existentially overhead? A cloud, yes, but also a sign which says about this country that they welcome poets and painters, transgenders too. It says that this nation welcomes all other outcasts who normally don't fit in elsewhere.

And this simple landscape below, probably invented in a studio, but it's a place seen often by the painter, again, and again, and used empirically in this picture. I love the large white overpainting which takes place over the whole lower third. It says, maybe,
"I didn't like the way the bottom looked as a green tropical foreground so I painted it white." 

And this is an expressive coup de genie, I think. This,  a very painterly solution to dealing with what doesn't yet work in the painter's mind of his/her picture. This artist chose to just simply paint it out with a large glacier-like slab of snow white. A clever solution worthy of an Italian surrealist. Fantastic!

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